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Jump off the Stress Express--Bring Back the Holiday Spirit with Family Christmas Traditions
Twas the week before Christmas and all though the house everything was in shambles. Too much to do and not enough time. More shopping to be done, presents to wrap, cookies to bake and decorating await. Oh the hustle and bustle, the extra work and the stress. Is it any wonder you feel like the Kranks?
If your holiday season rings in more stress than joy, you’re not alone. Consider these facts:
Helpless to resist the pressures of a “Spend it” society, many people feel obligated to get on the frenzied commercialized Christmas train—and they don’t know how to get off.
If your holiday season tends to exhaust rather than uplift, maybe it’s time to wrestle the holidays from the clutches of commercialism. Pump joy and love back into your holiday filling it with the true spirit of Christmas.
What do kids really want?
The crowds, the cash, the Christmas Crunch. The wrapping, the toys, the noise. It’s burning you out—right? So why do we do it? For most, the typical answer is not surprising, “We do it for the kids.” For many people Christmas is about children and bringing them as much joy as possible But think for a moment about your own childhood. What made the holiday seasons special for you?
Not sure your answer best represents the feelings of most kids? Think again. We asked the kids. A recent survey of 7th graders reveals their fondest memories related to the holiday season and Christmas in particular. You may be surprised to see what they had to say.
“The thing I like the most is being able to see all of my relatives. We get together at my grandparents' houses and have big meals, which leads to another good part. The food. We usually have big hams and mashed potatoes and other good stuff. Then I feel like I won't be able to eat for another week." Ryan, age 12
"I always have a good time at Christmas. On Christmas Eve we stay up late and play video games. Then in the morning I get my stocking. Then I wake up my family and we open up our presents and eat pixie sticks and then we eat a big breakfast. After that we go outside. We also play board games. I love Christmas." Meg, age 12
"All of my Christmas's have been jolly. I think my best memory has been spending time with my family." Devin, age 12
"The first thing I think about when somebody mentions Christmas is picking out and putting up a tree and decorating it.” Jessica, age 12
Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Sure, he took four quotes from a stack that suited his purpose.” Not true. Of the 75 students surveyed only 12 even mentioned unwrapping presents as a significant memory for them. Family gatherings and family activities created the fondest memories for 84% of the group.
If you are racking up credit card debt to create the perfect memory for your kids, you are wasting time and your money.
Creating a Joyful Season
Bill McKibben, author of Hundred Dollar Holiday, gives this piece of advice:
Still at a loss? Not sure less will actually translate into more? Start slowly. Changing life patterns and resisting social pressures takes time. It may be too late to significantly change this year’s celebration activities. But you still have time to lay the groundwork for next year—and years to come. Here are some activities guaranteed to bring you closer to the ones you love.
Start Your Family Christmas Traditions Now
Find new ways to kindle the spirit of fun and togetherness.
For more ideas visit Santa’s Favorite Links
Give Non-commercial Gifts (from www.newdream.org)
With a little effort, you can get off the commercialized Christmas train. Get back into the spirit of Christmas. Start family traditions. Change your buying and gift-giving habits. Discover new ways to share the joy of the Christmas season with your kids, your family and your friends. Take small steps today and tomorrow your holiday memories will be filled with laughter, joy, and Christmas magic. Put a little holiday spirit back into your “week before Christmas”.
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